Hyderabad: Spas and salons in the city offering massage services are preparing for a legal battle against a police rule which makes massages illegal. Top spas in the city, including a unit of Jawed Habib, have approached the High Court seeking removal of the rule.
The Court had recently ruled against hookah parlours in the city — a ruling which has aided a GHMC and police-backed crackdown against outlets serving the hookah to minors.
Government pleader for the home department, H. Venugopal, said: “There are a batch of petitions in the High Court regarding spas and massage centres. There is no specific Act barring spa services but we can restrict them. Under the guise of massage centres, businesses are allowing cross-gender massages. We are seeking restrictions on them and the case is likely to come up soon.”
The city police had recently stopped massage services at several spas and officials were relying on a 2010 notification from the law and order wing of the city police commissioner.
But now, the Signature Family salon and spa, in a written petition quoting the notification, has placed a plea before the High Court seeking a suspension of the 2010 notification. The business has also sought an order asking the Commissioner of Police not to interfere with its business as it is a protected right under the Constitution.
Essenz Family Spa and Salon and training institute at Ameerpet, Haven spa and salon, Sudhakar enterprises beauty parlour and Salon and Akruti Beauty and Salon are some of the businesses that have knocked at the doors of the Hyderabad High court.
But police higher-ups are refusing to back off. The Commissioner’s Task Force DCP B. Lima Reddy claimed cops had conducted secret operations to track down suspect massage parlours and spas in the city.
“These raids are conducted only after evidence is collected. Most of the parlours had active prostitution rings operating from the premises or were offering services of a sexual nature. These are criminal offences,” Mr Reddy said.
Another official said: “If teams uncover evidence of prostitution, cases are booked under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. “If the activities do not amount to prostitution, we book cases under City Police Act for public indecency.”